Tag Archives: innovation

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Cattle, Slaves and Automobiles: Driving Dangerously With Management Clichés


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Language is rooted in metaphor. In their popular book, Metaphors We Live By (1982) George Lakoff and Mark Johnson showed the pervasive role that our embodied experience plays in our understanding of how the world works, or might work. We … Continue reading


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Bloody Ships – Bloody Systems: A Managerial Reflection on the Centenary of the Battle of Jutland


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“There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today…” remarked Vice Admiral David Beatty to his Flag Captain. Beatty was commander of the Battle Cruiser Fleet at Jutland, and his cool comment belied the scale of the catastrophe. … Continue reading


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For Innovation – Think Small – Like a Mindful Mollusk!


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The story of Inky the octopus made headlines around the world this past week. In case you have been in Outer Mongolia (without the internet) Inky was a male common octopus on exhibit in New Zealand’s National Aquarium on the … Continue reading


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Capitalism as an Ecological Process


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On April 2 The Economist published a book review of Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Corporations, a 700-page manual on corporate finance and shareholder value published by McKinsey & Company. The views in both the book and the … Continue reading


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Disrupting Disruption Theory [Part III]: Transforming Human Organizations


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This is the third in my series of blogs triggered by Harvard history professor Jill Lepore’s criticism of HBS professor Clayton Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation. Although her curiously jumbled assessment was wide of the mark, it presented an opportunity … Continue reading


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Disrupting Disruption Theory [Part I]: Storm in a Modernist Teacup


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A recent article in the New Yorker by Harvard history professor, Jill Lepore is creating quite a storm in management circles. In it she takes Harvard Business School’s Clayton M. Christensen to task for sloppy methods in the derivation and … Continue reading


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Climate Change and Evidence-based Management: An Ecological Perspective [Part I]


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In the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, British science writer Matt Ridley wrote another one of his provocative essays around his theme of “rational optimism”. [In 2010 Ridley wrote a book, The Rational Optimist, which I reviewed for Strategy+Business.] … Continue reading


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The “3Rs” of Management Part II: Rationality and Power


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Walter Bagehot once wrote that “The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards”. Following on my blog from last week, I think that this is a fair description of … Continue reading


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Organic and Mechanical Approaches to Complex Systems


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The last week a blog I wrote for the Harvard Business Review and the Drucker Forum was published on the HBR site. It brought together a number of issues that I have been talking about in the past few months … Continue reading


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T-shaped People: Deduction, Induction, Abduction and Systems Thinking


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IDEO, the design and innovation firm, prizes what they call “T-shaped” individuals. These are people with a deep expertise in one field or domain (the vertical stroke of the “T”) and some expertise across several, often dissimilar, domains (the horizontal … Continue reading


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